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Academy Award winner Natalie Portman "Black Swan" in an "utterly fearless performance" Rob Nelson, Variety stars as a newlywed trying to cope with guilt and loss in this sensitive and compelling modern drama adapted by writer-director Don Roos "The Opposite of Sex" from the novel by Ayelet Waldman. Portman plays Emilia, a law-school graduate who falls in love with her married boss, Jack Scott Cohen, "The Understudy". After Emilia marries Jack, her happiness turns unexpectedly to grief following the death of her infant daughter. Devastated, Emilia nonetheless carries on, attempting to forge a connection with her stepson William Charlie Tahan, "I Am Legend" and to resist the interference of Jack's jealous ex-wife Lisa Kudrow, "Easy A," "The Opposite of Sex". Don Roos "Happy Endings," "Bounce" demonstrates his keen eye for the nuances of love, loss, and rebuilding life in this heartfelt and touching drama.
Director Don Roos Happy Endings and actress Natalie Portman Black Swan turn to Ayelet Waldman's novel for a fresh take on the other-woman melodrama. In adapting Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, Roos starts after the affair and the marriage between two well-heeled New Yorkers, but there's no happily ever after for Emilia Portman, a legal associate, and Jack Scott Cohen, an attorney, because their baby succumbed to sudden infant death syndrome. Through an extended flashback, Roos fills in their story. Now their lives revolve around his sensitive 8-year-old son, William Charlie Tahan, with his chilly ex-wife, Carolyne Lisa Kudrow in her third outing with the filmmaker. If Emilia has trouble dealing with the loss, William has no such qualms, and can't understand her inability to move on. Then again, every time Emilia thinks she's made a breakthrough with the lad, something goes wrong, leading him to declare, "You're not sophisticated like me and my mom." Fortunately, Emilia has her mother Debra Monk, sister Elizabeth Marvel, and friends Lauren Ambrose and Anthony Rapp for support, though they're no match for Carolyne, whose resentment of Emilia would be more understandable if the screenplay didn't make her so unlikable--but she does get to reveal a flicker of humanity towards the end. Still, this is Portman's show, and she's very good in depicting the various stages of Emilia's grief, particularly in her scenes with Tahan. If The Other Woman lacks the director's customary humor, that adds to the sweetness of the resolution. --Kathleen C. Fennessy